Come to the Fun Palace!


Wakefield Libraries are bringing together the South Elmsall community for our first ever Fun Palace to be held at South Elmsall Library, Saturday 1st October, 10.00am-12.00am. Fun Palaces is a nationwide initiative and was born out of Joan Littlewood’s motto “Everyone an artist, everyone a scientist”.

We’re planning free activities for this event and would love to hear from anyone in the community who like to get involved in sharing their skills with others; this could be arts, crafts, IT, sewing, or any hobbies or skills you’d like to share. Anything from Astronomy to Zookeeping is welcome!  There are many talented individuals or groups within our community and we’d like to bring you all together for the rest of the community to enjoy. Contact the staff at South Elmsall Library Email Tel 01977 723220 if you would like to take part.  

Everyone is invited to come along and try something you’ve never tried before!





Wakefield Lit Fest

2016 Logo

Wakefield Lit Fest is back! The festival takes place from 23rd September to 2nd October and you can pick up a brochure from your library or look online and book at

We are opening the festival on Friday 23rd with a visit from popular Yorkshire author Jack Sheffield, talking about the latest title in his Teacher series set in a fictional village school, ‘Star Teacher’

Wakefield author Michael Yates will be launching his latest book ‘The Gangers’ on Saturday 24th.

We have a bookbinding class with artist Timid Elk at Sandal Library on 26th and a creative writing group led by Ian Clayton at Featherstone on 28th.

Also on 28th, Schwa are taking over the Wakefield children’s library for ‘Threshold: an evening of songs and stories of hospitality.’

The author of the prize-winning Young adult novel ‘My Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece’, Annabel Pitcher, will be at Wakefield Library on 29th to talk about her latest book ‘Silence is Goldfish’.

There are lots of festival highlights and events taking place all over the district, so visit the website, pick up a brochure and get involved in this creative celebration of stories and words.



Reading Well Books on Prescription Survey

Have you borrowed one of our Reading Well Books on Prescription books? If you have, you could help with a study to find out what you thought of the book and how the scheme is working. There is a short anonymous questionnaire – either by post, telephone or online. If you would like to fill in the questionnaire online please follow this link:  To take part by post, ask at your library for a survey pack. If you would like to take part by telephone or want further information, contact Jo Woodford or Manpreet Dhuffar on 01392 725 780.

You can help libraries to improve Reading Well for the future, so if you would be willing to give a few minutes of your time, thank you.

Study Advert

Not the Booker Prize



The longlist for the Man Booker Prize was recently announced and you can read more about it and find the list at  It’s the leading literary award in the English language of course, but this year I’m finding the Guardian’s Not The Booker Award more exciting. They have an enormous longlist of nearly 100 books which will be whittled down to a shortlist by reader’s votes. The full list is at

Each reader must vote by 14 August for two books, from two different publishers by commenting on the article. Include the word ‘vote’ in the post and a short review of one of the two books. I can see lots of books I want to read on the list and I’m sure as I explore the suggestions I’ll find a few more.

The prize is a little short of the £50,000 that the Man Booker prize winner will get..” The author of the winning book will receive a Guardian mug. They may not want it, but there’s nothing we can do about that. No prizes will be awarded to readers for submitting a nomination, voting or judging, but you will have our undying gratitude for taking part, cracking jokes about the entries or sniping from the sidelines, as you see fit.”

Summer Reading

What could be nicer than sitting in the sun with a good book. And when the sun shines bright, I like to plunge into something really dark. Summer is the ideal time for a good thriller or crime novel  and here are some of summer’s best to look out for.

A13 Claire Mackintosh: I let you go

Winner of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year

A14 Louise Candlish: The Swimming Pool

Secrets and lies beneath the surface at a London Lido will keep you on the edge of your seat

A15 Elly Griffiths: The Woman in Blue

The murder of women priests in the shrine town of Walsingham sucks Dr Ruth Galloway into an unholy investigation.

A8 Antonia Hodgson: The Last Confession of Thomas Hawkins

Not many crime novels start with the hero on his way to the gallows. Back to 1728 and the backstreets of Georgian London for the sequel to  The Devil in the Marshalsea

A9 Peter May: Coffin Road

Coffin Road follows three perilous journeys towards one shocking truth – and the realisation that ignorance can kill us

A12 Lucie Whitehouse: Keep you close

They said it was a tragic accident. She knows better…Is this the new Girl on the Train?

Have you tried any of these books? Perhaps you prefer something sunny and light this summer. Let us know about your summer reading choices.




Opening Hours Consultation

Council proposes changes to library opening times

Wakefield Council is asking residents for their views on proposed changes to opening hours at Council libraries.

The Council is proposing to reduce the opening hours at all 13 of its libraries in order to make a saving of £150k as identified in this year’s budget savings.

Cllr Les Shaw, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, said: “The financial challenge facing the Council is huge. We simply have no choice but to reduce our spending so we have been looking at ways that we can make savings but still provide the important services that residents need.”

This year the Council needs to save £27m, this is on top of the £119m that has already been cut from the Council’s budget since 2011.

Cllr Shaw added: “This is why we are proposing to reduce the opening hours at our libraries, to save money but still ensure that library services are provided across the district. We are proposing to reduce the hours at typically less busy times of day to help minimise the impact this will have on library customers.

“By reducing the opening hours of the facilities we hope that we can continue to keep all the facilities open, help protect jobs and still offer our customers an excellent service.

“We are asking all residents to take part in the consultation so that any changes that are implemented will cause the least amount of disruption.”

The consultation starts on Wednesday 8 June until Wednesday 22 June. People can take part online at or by completing a questionnaire available at all Council libraries.

The proposals will reduce the numbers of hours that libraries are open from 531 to 474.5 hours. Most libraries would see slightly later opening times or slightly earlier closing times on some of their less busy days.

The changes are being proposed at Airedale, Castleford, Featherstone, Hemsworth, Horbury, Knottingley, Normanton, Ossett, Pontefract, Sandal, South Elmsall, Stanley and the Wakefield One library.

Full details of the proposed changes to all the opening hours are detailed in the questionnaires at

A Message from Lit Fest


It’s that time of year again and Wakefield Lit Fest is back! This year, Wakefield Lit Fest 2016 takes place 23 September – 2 October at places and spaces across the district and city centre. 2016 is a special year for Wakefield Lit Fest as we celebrate our 5th birthday – programmed by arts charity Beam and supported by Arts Council England, Wakefield Lit Fest has become a real highlight in the city’s cultural calendar and the seed fund needs you to make this year’s festival one to remember. The seed fund enables groups and individuals like you to get involved with the festival by producing your own events. The festival will support your event through marketing activity including listings in our festival brochure and website as well as festival promotion through our social media channels.  Be as creative as you like – your event could be a spoken word performance, poetry reading, book launch or anything that celebrates reading, writing and words – you don’t need to have previous experience just enthusiasm to devise and deliver a great event. Need help? We can advise you with planning your event just let us know how we can support you. We have limited funding for applications of up to £200, download the Seed Fund Application Form and Call Out information here. Hurry, the deadline for applications is Monday 13 June at 9.30am.

Bones in the Nest

bones-in-the-nest-98x150             Helen-Cadbury-100x150

Helen Cadbury : Bones in the Nest

Our next Read Regional event will be on Monday 13th June from 7pm at Pontefract Library. You are invited to join the Pontefract Library Reader’s group for an evening with author Helen Cadbury. Helen will be talking about her second crime novel Birds in the Nest, which, like To catch a Rabbit, features PC Sean Denton and is set in Yorkshire.

This should be a great evening, especially as Reader Group members have promised to do some of their famous baking for the event! Call Pontefract Library on 01977 727692 or email to reserve a place.


Here are some of Helen’s comments about her book:

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where an idea first comes from, but when you read Bones in the Nest, you may recognise news stories that fed my imagination both consciously and unconsciously.

During the riots of 2011, I was staying in a cottage with no TV or internet. The only coverage of the riots I had access to was from the radio. The pictures were so vivid in my mind that they demanded to be put on paper. In the narrative, racial tension is rising on the Chasebridge Estate in Doncaster. Although the rioters in Bones in the Nest are doing it for a different reason than in London, I just knew that there was going to be a shop on fire, somewhere in this book.

Another strand in the narrative follows a young woman called Chloe Toms who is piecing her life back together in York after ten years in prison. Chloe is not based on any one person, but is inspired by the time I spent teaching in a women’s resettlement prison. It was a regular experience for me seeing women prepare for life outside, and the challenge of living under a new identity in a world of internet searches and cheque- book journalism.

Something else that’s very important to my writing process is walking. By walking, I don’t mean anything particularly special or energetic, but just walking around the streets where I live. I mentally placed the hostel where Chloe lives not far from my own neighbourhood, with the looming view of York Minster watching her, as it watches me on my walks. Being watched, whether for good or ill, is an underlying theme in the book, as is the family and its various dysfunctions.




This year’s Dementia Awareness Week, 15 – 21 May, will encourage people who are worried about dementia to confront their worries by looking for support and information.  Dementia can be scary and many people don’t know where to turn, but the Alzheimer’s Society is there for anyone affected and there are lots of ways they can help. You can find some help in your library too. Pick up our Reading Well Books on Prescription: Dementia leaflet which has a list of books which will give you information and help find out about people’s experiences. (See the blog page for a full list.)

There are lots of activities taking place at Sandal Library for Dementia Awareness Week:

Monday 16th May

Active minds session – carpet bowls 11-12 pm,  open for all

Friends of Sandal library Fund raising day 10-4 : all funds raised towards developing the Dementia Friendly Garden. (Ask at the library for details and news of the garden and how to join the Friends Group)

Tuesday 17th May

Active mind session – music bingo 2.00-3.00pm,  open for all

Friends of Sandal library Fund raising day 10-4 : all funds raised towards developing the Dementia Friendly Garden

Friday 19th May

Dementia Awareness training 10.30-11.30, open to all. Booking essential

Friends of Sandal Library coffee morning from 10 am: all funds raised towards developing

The Dementia Friendly Garden


If you, or someone you know, is worried about dementia, Call the National Dementia Helpline on 0300 222 1122 or email



Teeth 1


Children are eating 3 times as much sugar as they should which is causing tooth decay and excess weight. By the age of 3 children in our district average 2.59 decayed, missing or filled teeth. By the age of 5, 1 in 5 children are above a healthy weight

Smile4Life is a storytime event for families with pre-school children to establish good drinking habits and tooth care early.

To meet the Health Improvement and Oral Health Promotion Teams for expert advice, an opportunity to ask questions and some helpful leaflets and free items, visit Smile4Life storytimes at

Wakefield Library, Tuesday 17 May 1.30-2.15

Pontefract Library, Wednesday 18 May 9.30-10.30 or 10.45 – 11.45

Airedale Library, Monday 23rd May 10 – 11am

South Elmsall Library, Tuesday 24  May 9.30 – 11am

Featherstone Library, Thursday 26 May 9.30 – 10.30am

Hemsworth Library, Friday 27 May 10 – 10.30am

The most important messages to take care of children’s teeth and give them a great smile for life are

Drink milk or water rather than juices and fizzy drinks

Brush teeth twice every day, in the morning and before bed.

Visit the dentist regularly.







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